Distribution of Trichinella spiralis larvae in muscles from a naturally infected horse

E. Pozio, G. V. Celano, L. Sacchi, C. Pavia, P. Rossi, A. Tamburrini, S. Corona, G. La Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epidemiological investigations conducted during 10 trichinellosis outbreaks between 1975 and 1994 showed that horse-meat was the probable source of infection. Though hundreds of thousands of horses have been examined at abattoirs in America and Europe to detect Trichinella infection by artificial digestion or trichinelloscopy, an infected horse has never been detected during routine analysis, which consists of examining 1 g of tissue muscle from the diaphragm. In November 1996, a naturally infected horse imported from Romania was detected in Southern Italy. The parasite was identified as Trichinella spiralis by random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. Artificial digestion of tissue samples from 60 different muscles from 13 different sites of the infected horse carcass showed that M. levator Labii maxillaris, M. hyoideus transversus, and M. buccinator were the 3 most infected muscles. Muscles from the tongue, the masseter, and the diaphragm, which have normally been considered the muscles of choice for diagnosis, where the 4th, 6th and 13th most infected muscles, respectively. When comparing body sites, muscle tissues from the head showed the highest level of infection, followed by muscles from the neck. This finding may explain the negative results that have been obtained in the past during routine examination of the diaphragm of horses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 1998


  • Diagnosis nematoda
  • Horse
  • Italy
  • Muscles
  • Trichinella spiralis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)


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